Ashe, not Barnard, wins sixth Senate seat (11/13/08)

Final election tallies released

Nov. 13, 2008

By Greg Elias

Observer staff

Official election results released Monday provided the last word on an evolving state Senate contest but left other races unchanged.

The Vermont Secretary of State’s office reported canvassing committee tallies that represent the final count in the Nov. 4 election.

The numbers, posted on the Secretary of State’s Web site, confirm what has already been reported by other local media outlets: Tim Ashe of Burlington beat Denise Barnard of Richmond for the sixth and final seat representing Chittenden County in the Vermont Senate.

Relying on information from other media outlets on Election Day and the following morning, the Williston Observer reported that Barnard had finished ahead of Ashe. But those results did not include the final vote total from Burlington.

That tally, which was corrected the day after the election to reflect an error in the initial count, pushed Ashe ahead of Barnard. The official countywide total shows Ashe finished with a 417-vote margin of victory.

“I went to bed thinking that I lost,” said Ashe, a Burlington City Council member. “I had been surprised I didn’t show more strongly in Burlington.”

Ashe visited City Hall the following day to get the ward-by-ward results. By then, he said, officials were already double-checking ward totals. Shortly afterwards, they discovered that one ward’s tally for Ashe was entered as 157 when the actual total was 1,577.

Efforts to confirm Ashe’s account of the vote-counting snafu were unsuccessful. Elections Director Ben Pacy referred questions to Chief Administrative Officer Jonathan Leopold, who did not return telephone messages.

Sue Alenick, Burlington’s Ward 1 captain, said she had no direct knowledge of errors in the citywide count. But she did confirm that Burlington disclosed its results much later than other Chittenden County municipalities, which may have also skewed Senate race tallies reported by the Observer.

The Secretary of State’s office had insisted no totals be released until all absentee and write-in votes were counted, Alenick said.

“City Hall has taken a bum rap on this,” she said. “They were just doing what they were supposed to do.”

Barnard said she met with representatives from the Secretary of State’s office on Tuesday to discuss her options. She said she will decide whether to seek a recount after talking with advisors.

Requests for recounts must be filed by Friday, according to Chittenden County Clerk Diane Lavallee.

There were 14 candidates vying for Chittenden County’s six seats in the state Senate.

Doug Racine of Richmond finished first in the race with 44,850 votes. The others selected by voters were Ed Flanagan of Burlington with 38,991 votes, Ginny Lyons of Williston with 35,863, Diane Snelling with 32,391, Hinda Miller with 31,453 and Ashe with 28,098. Barnard received 27,681 votes.

Four of the successful candidates are Democrats. Snelling is a Republican and Ashe is a “fusion” candidate who ran as both a Democrat and a Progressive.

In Williston, there were small differences between the unofficial tallies reported last week and the final totals. But none of the changes were large enough to affect any contest.

In all, 5,265 ballots were cast. That amounts to 71.4 percent of all registered voters in Williston.

A record-setting 2,371 residents cast absentee and early ballots, which was 45 percent of all votes in Williston and more than double the previous record for balloting before Election Day.

As usual, there were a handful of quirky write-in votes. Seven Williston residents voted for Hillary Clinton for president. Write-ins for state Senate included John McCain and Bernie Sanders.

There were also write-in votes for cartoon characters such as Donald Duck and Mickey Mouse, said Williston Town Clerk Deb Beckett. Those kind of votes are the perpetual bane of election official because they slow the count.

“It just adds a lot of work to our already busy and long day,” Beckett said.




John McCain (R)        1,645            98,974

Barack Obama (D)        3,507            219,262

U.S. Representative

Peter Welch (D)*        4,151            248,203

Thomas Hermann (P)        99            9,081


Jim Douglas (R)*        3,155            170,492

Anthony Pollina (I)        986            69,791

Gaye Symington (D)        980            69,534

Lt. Governor

Thomas Costello (D)        1,631            121,953

Brian Dubie (R)*        3,246            171,744

Richard Kemp (P)        182            14,249

State Treasurer

Don Schramm (P)        277            22,811

Jeb Spaulding (D, R)*        4,419            267,338

Secretary of State

Eugene Bifano (R)        1,216            70,114

Deb Markowitz (D)*        3,465            214,197

Marjorie Power (P)        155            13,856

Auditor of Accounts

Martha Abbott (P)        513            35,232

Thomas Salmon (D, R)*        3,984            241,825


Attorney General

Charlotte Dennett (P)        188            17,730

Karen Kerin (R)        762            55,268

William Sorrell (D)*        3,763            214,980

State Senator

Darren Adams (R)        1,319            15,892

Tim Ashe (D)            1,608            28,098

Denise Barnard (D)        1,689            27,681

Dennis Benard (R)        1,428            16,758

Agnes Clift (R)         1,181            14,190

Ed Flanagan (D)*        2,493            38,991

Ginny Lyons (D)*        2,925            35,863

Hinda Miller (D)*        1,927            31,453

Robyn Myers-Moore (R)    1,243            15,028

Doug Racine (D)*        3,014            44,850

Diane Snelling (R)*        2,790            32,391

Paula Spadaccini (R)         1,377            15,110

State Representative

Brennan Duffy (R)        1,827

Terry Macaig (D)        2,476

Jim McCullough (D)*        3,098

Shelly Palmer (R)        1,333

Williston charter changes

Yes                 3,899

No                712

Justice of the Peace

(Top 15 are elected)

Deb Beckett (R)        2,671

Eileen Blackwood (D)        1,404

Carson Cornbrooks (D)    1,502

Joshua Diamond (D)        1,260

Anne Dickerson (R)        1,169

Brennan Duffy (R)        1,752

George Gerecke (R)        1,492

Herb Goodrich (R)        2,098

Andrew Guernsey (R)        939

Meg Hart-Smith (D)        1,767

James Haug (R)        973

Jeanne Jensen (D)        1,740

Ted Kenney (D)        1,869

Tony Lamb (D)        2,123

Ginny Lyons (D)        2,678

Terry Macaig (D)        2,175

Brooks Mcarthur (D)        1,047

Patrice Maloney (R)        1,101

Jake Mathon (R)        900

Jim McCullough (D)        2,825

Andy Mikell (D)        2,034

Ginger Morton (R)        1,535

Shelley Palmer (R)        1,360

Kip Roberson (D)        997

Ben Rose (D)            1,801

Chris Roy (R)            1,601

Bill Skiff (R)            1,826

Carter Smith (D)        1,825

Ruth Stokes (R)        1,776

Karol Tymecki (R)        1,128

Note: Due to space limitations, independent and some third-party candidates are omitted from this list.

* Denotes incumbent